The South Leigh Forest Restoration is the idea of local resident, David Brooks, who is autistic. It is based on his concern for the environment and the depletion of woodland over time, mainly by farming and urbanisation.
THE VISION: 'To regrow the South Leigh Forest of the past as closely as possible.'
Steering group: David Brooks, John Ashwell, Martin Spurrier. Volunteers will source and plant trees,and their sites, in and around South Leigh. In the early phases, locations visible to the public and in close proximity to the centres of habitation, will be given priority.
There will be single-tree and multiple-tree plantings. It is planned to expand from single trees to copses of 20 or more, later.
The trees will range from 'self-set' seedlings of a few inches to larger potted and / or 'established' trees. This is a long-term programme, although every effort will be made to make a positive visual impact as early as is practicable.
For further information, please contact Martin Spurrier
01993 702808 or 07799 368464
Some Good News for Tree Lovers: The Eynsham Park Estate through their agents, Savills, have kindly just given us consent to plant trees in two excellent village locations with the possibility of a third. David and I had identified about a dozen sites in our application to them but, for one good reason or another, many were not possible.
Those sites for which we have the go ahead are:
The early days of the South Leigh Forest Restoration are being rewarding on one hand and painfully slow on the other! We did expect this, though.
Good news! Launched in January, we have already planted or secured more than 40 trees and have rescued another 31 baby, self-set oaks from the hedgerows ready for planting. The slow bit is gaining permission from land owners, but we have great news... At going to press, Eynsham Park Estate have kindly granted us permission for planting along Chapel Road and Church End. More details later.
In the meantime, happily, several households are pressing ahead. There are three new trees in front of Acre Cottage in Chapel Road, we have been offered fruit trees for public spaces, and there’s tree planting at Station Farm, Tarwood House and at The Manor House, that we know of.
Our big hope now is that we can get permission to plant 15 trees in clumps of three or four along the north side of the Football Field. The Parish Council’s Football Field Committee has kindly agreed, so now we need just one more permission to go ahead. For everyone’s information, there are small stakes where we plan to plant the hardwood, long-life ‘legacy’ trees. Each will have a couple of fast growers in the clump that will be sacrificed or will die in the long term.
Preliminary work has started on available grants and we have applied for, and been granted, £450 by the District Council. This will buy tree shelters, stakes and trees for our first plantings. Many thanks to our District Councillor, Charles Mathew. And South Leigh resident, Mike Kirk, who lives in Chapel Road and who is the proprietor of landscape garden company, Hadingham Kirk Gardens, has very kindly offered to give us 15 x 5ft trees. He is also kindly advising us. Thank you, Mike.
David's vision is:
'To regrow the South Leigh Forest of the past as closely as possible'
Looking south east across the de-forested parish
Simple, Focussed, Visible, Inclusive, and at no cost to the Parish Council.
If any planned activity does not answer positively to these five criteria, it is not on strategy and should not be pursued.
South Leigh Forest Restoration
OUTLINE ACTION PLAN
The Plan will require the following tasks to be performed under the following headings:
1.1. Establishing the management team and relationship with the Parish Council.
The steering committee comprises David Brooks, John Ashwell and Martin Spurrier. John Ashwell has offered to represent the PC. Other members would be recruited.
1.2. Establishing the communication structure and communications plan recruiting additional volunteers.
Reporting to whom, when and how? The PC reporting obligations will be established and recorded.
The Parish Clerk is investigating appropriate liability and insurance issues and is checking whether the scheme is covered by existing policies.
Keeping the PC and the community informed will ensure that this is a ‘community’ project. We shall use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as e-mail and the Parish website.
We shall involve the media to generate interest in the scheme both for recruiting volunteers and funding. We shall be approaching local schools, especially Forest Schools and those that South Leigh children attend, to encourage their involvement.
We will also seek to place stories and updates in the South Leigh Newsletter and communicate via the PC’s email list and the village website to generate two-way communications (as well as to recruit volunteers to help, especially youngsters!).
1.3. Deciding what needs to be done and by whom.
This is the role of any group management in order to ensure efficiency and to avoid duplication and wasted effort.
2.1. Income: There will be three principal sources of income:
3.1. Identifying sites: This will start immediately and all will be plotted on a map for reference.
3.2. Seeking and gaining permission: We have sounded out the Eynsham Estate contractor with a positive response. The Estate and other land owners will be approached, accordingly. We have already received one dedication request.
Where it is common land or land owned or controlled by the OCC, we shall keep the PC informed.
Planting on verges can be done under Section 142 of the Highways Act through application to the OCC.
4.1. Types of tree planting: It is envisaged that there will be three:
Hedgerow planting / protection: Here, ‘self set’ saplings of a few inches tall (right) will be found along existing hedge lines, and ‘rescued’. They will be cleared of grass (their worst enemy even before rabbits!), at no cost, and then staked and provided with a tree shelters for protection, at a cost. At this size, they can also easily be moved (we have 30 potted already, see end for pictures). Larger, well positioned saplings will be treated similarly but without re-location.
Specific plantings: Here, individual members of the Parish may wish to pay for a tree, or several, to be planted in a specific place and, maybe, for a specific purpose. One such request/offer has already been received. Tree sizes will depend on the project.
Copse creation: Here, later in the programme, we envisage the planting of copses of say 20 trees upwards to several acres.
4.2: Sourcing stakes and tree shelters. See Appendix A.
We shall seek professional advice before making novice mistakes. We shall always seek to have such expert advice provided on a complimentary basis (see end for references).
In order to achieve the objective and not to over promise nor to over expect, it is proposed to take ‘baby steps’ (multiple phases) both in the scope of work and in the geographic distance from the centre of population. We shall regard Lymbrook Close as the centre.
4.4. Planting: This can occur generally at any time although the best is early spring, say February/March, depending on the weather (for the planters, not the trees!). We see there being two phases in the first year, Phase 1 being ‘self-set trees’ and Phase 2 being 'purchased trees'. The timing will depend largely upon permission from land owners.
4.5. Ongoing maintenance.
Fortunately, there is little maintenance to the hedgerow tree plantings. Simply removing grass now and then and replacing any trees that do not survive. In Martin Spurrier's experience this is significantly less than 10 percent. We shall keep a map showing every tree site and will ensure that they are checked and maintained periodically.
This is a simple and endearing environmental scheme initiated by a 25-year-old local resident. Many will benefit from it - those in the South Leigh community who choose to become involved as well as those who choose otherwise. It will also add to the area's natural beauty that is enjoyed by a much wider population.
The scheme endorses the Neighbourhood Plan and will further beautify the village and its surroundings; it will help address global warming; it will provide habitat for fauna, and it will replace forest lost to progress. Everyone will benefit while it will cost the Parish Council nothing.
Estimated Costs and Indicative Budget
Tree shelters and Stakes (best purchased together):
There are numerous suppliers on the internet and three quotes are below for information. However, through our own local trade contacts, it may be possible to buy at more competitive prices and to ‘involve’ local firms. These quotes are for 100 of each, but the unit cost is less for 300 upwards.
Tubex Tree Shelter 1.2m (If we buy 100)
Softwood treated stakes 1.2m (If we buy 100)
* Martin Spurrier uses Britishhardwood and finds them very responsive plus there are further discounts available.
Based on the above guidelines, here is the proposed indicative budget for 2020:
Indicative initial budget for 2020
Phase 1: Protection for 'self-set' hedgerow protected / 'rescued' trees:
200 x tree shelters, stakes and cable ties: £650
SUB TOTAL: £650
Phase 2: Purchased trees:
Indicative tree purchase - say the Woodland Trust 'starter packs' x 3 = £150
Tree 'whips' and up to 500mm at approx. £1-3 per tree, say = £200
Every effort will be made to achieve the best prices through supplier and trade contacts, in which case, surplus funds will be held for tree purchases.
Notes for background information and reference:
Expert advice: We shall approach the Woodland Trust, which provides such services free. Others include The Forest of Oxford, which is linked to the Oxfordshire Woodland Group (a registered charity that we should probably join) and part of the Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum (ONCF), Natural England and CPRE. All offer assistance, some also provide grants, as noted above.
OCC Tree Team is: 0345 3101111.
Trees: The Woodland Trust provides free packs to schools and communities (see below). However, we need to have the permission of the landowner and the grid references before applying for them. Distribution is in March so we may not have time for this by March 2020 (but we shall try). We shall definitely do this for 2021.
Tree costs: Woodland Trust sells Copse Starter Packs of 30 saplings for £49.95. See below:
For general information, the blog, ‘arbtalk’ cites £5,500 for 10 acres planting 60cm ‘whips’. This includes shelters and stakes but no fencing. Thus, the unit cost is dramatically lower for large plantings.
Whips and small trees (500mm) cost £1-3 each and mature trees of 7-12 m tall cost about £200 each.
Woodland Trust Copse starter pack
"Create a piece of paradise with this copse pack. Plant a mini forest school classroom or a peaceful spot that’s an oasis for birds. With 30 trees per pack, you will receive Silver birch, Rowan and Wild cherry, perfect for your own small, tranquil copse.
Estimate full grown height: Rowan: 8-15m, Silver birch: 15-20m and Wild cherry: 18-25m.
Purchase size and growth: These trees are cell-grown saplings, ranging from approximately 15cm-60cm in height. Cell grown trees can be planted all year round in most situations as long as they are given the correct care. Please be aware that depending upon the time of year you receive your sapling (particularly early spring) it may not look very perky upon arrival, please do not worry once it has been planted it should pick up quickly".
For further information, please contact Martin Spurrier
01993 702808 or 07799 368464